PRECIOUS-Gold rises on coronavirus worries, firm dollar limits gains

 (Adds details and updates prices)
    * Asian shares mixed after two days of gains
    * Dollar recovers after overnight drop
    * Coronavirus infections cross 1.38 mln globally

    By Shreyansi Singh
    April 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained in volatile trade on
Wednesday amid weakening appetite for risk as rising deaths
dampened hopes for a swift containment of the novel coronavirus.
    Spot gold        ticked up 0.2% to $1,651.51 per ounce by
0739 GMT, after climbing to its highest since March 10 on
Tuesday at $1,671.40. U.S. gold futures         rose 0.4% to
    "Fundamentals are still bullish, but in the short term the
market will take cues from every bit of news that pops up," said
Avtar Sandu, a senior commodities manager at Phillip Futures,
adding that a firmer dollar and profit-taking weighed on prices.
    Asian stocks were mixed after two sessions of sharp gains as
investors tempered their optimism about the coronavirus while
death tolls were still mounting across the globe.            
    The virus has infected more than 1.38 million people
globally and the death toll crossed 81,400, and though the
numbers are still rising in many highly populated countries,
tentative improvements had given hope.             
    New York state, the U.S. epicentre of the pandemic, reported
its sharpest single-day spike in fatalities and Spain's daily
toll of deaths rose for the first time in five days, while new
cases in mainland China nearly doubled in 24 hours due to
infected overseas travellers.
    In a bid to support economies hammered by the outbreak, 
governments and central banks around the world have unleashed
unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus.
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a
state of emergency to fight the outbreak and rolled out a nearly
$1 trillion stimulus package to soften the economic blow.
    "In the mid to long term, gold has upside due to
quantitative easing and monetary stimulus efforts by global
central banks," said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang Yan.
    Capping bullion's gains, the dollar        gained 0.4%
against key rivals, as investors returned to safe-havens. On
Tuesday, the greenback posted its worst drop in nearly two
    On the technical front, spot gold looks neutral in a range
of $1,643-$1,668 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a
direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , rose 0.15% to 985.71 tonnes on
    Palladium        climbed 1.2% to $2,200.61 an ounce, while 
platinum        gained 0.7% to $738.84.
    Silver        rose 0.4% to $15.06 an ounce, having touched a
more than three-week high in the previous session.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh, K. Sathya Narayanan and Asha
Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)